Sands: Marijuana commission to submit final report in January

Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands indicated that the Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana expects to present its final report to Cabinet in early January.

Sands added that a preliminary report is expected by the end of the month.

The commission, which was formed in July 2018 and tasked with examining the issue of marijuana in The Bahamas, was originally given until April 2019 to submit its findings.

However, the commission was given a three-month extension.

In August, the commission’s Co-Chair Bishop Simeon Hall told The Nassau Guardian that he was hoping to have a final report in by the end of October.

The commission explained last month that the passage of Hurricane Dorian further delayed the submission of the final report, but its work continues “with prudence”.

This is the fifth time the commission has pushed back its deadline.

According to Sands, this delay “reflects the magnitude of the mission”.

“The team sought to answer a very important question about the views of the Bahamian people,” he said.

“They have attempted to get informed views without interference. They are done with their fieldwork, but now are tasked with writing the report.”

Last month, members of the commission visited Jamaica to conduct a fact-finding mission.

The commission held meetings with representatives from the Cannabis Licensing Authority; the National Council on Drug Abuse; the Ministry of Justice; the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries; the Bobo Shanti Rasta Camp, an herb house retailer; and former Minister of Justice Mark Golding.

It said the visit proved to be fruitful, as it gave members insight into Jamaica’s current legal framework with regard to the controversial plant.

The CARICOM Regional Commission on Marijuana has recommended the declassification of marijuana as a dangerous drug in all legislation and the reclassification of the drug as a controlled substance, similar to tobacco and alcohol.

According to a report prepared by that commission, The Bahamas could see a financial benefit of around $5 million from the legalization of the substance and regulation of its sale.

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